News



DATE=5/17/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-232359
TITLE=PAK NUCLEAR (L) UPDATE
BYLINE=ALI ZAIDI
DATELINE=ISLAMABAD
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  PAKISTAN HAS DENIED REPORTS IT CARRIED OUT A NUCLEAR TEST
SUNDAY, BUT SAYS THE POSSIBILITY OF CARRYING OUT A NUCLEAR TEST 
IS NOT A QUESTION OF IF, BUT WHEN.  AS ALI ZAIDI REPORTS FROM 
ISLAMABAD -- PAKISTAN SEES THE SANCTIONS IMPOSED ON ITS RIVAL 
INDIA FOR NUCLEAR TESTING AS TOO WEAK TO DETER PAKISTAN FROM 
RESPONDING TO THE THREAT TO ITS SECURITY.

TEXT:  PAKISTAN'S FOREIGN OFFICE DENIED SUNDAY THE COUNTRY HAD 
CARRIED OUT A NUCLEAR TEST.

RUMORS OF A TEST CIRCULATED EARLY SUNDAY, BUT IT WAS ONLY WHEN 
THEY REACHED THE G-8 SUMMIT LEADERS IN ENGLAND AS UNCONFIRMED 
REPORTS THAT PAKISTANI OFFICIALS FELT THE NEED TO PUT OUT A FIRM 
DENIAL.

FOREIGN MINISTER GOHAR AYUB ACCUSES RIVAL INDIA OF SPREADING 
DISINFORMATION IN THIS REGARD.  MR. AYUB LEFT NO DOUBT PAKISTAN 
HAS EVERY INTENTION OF CARRYING OUT SUCH A TEST IN RESPONSE TO 
INDIA'S FIVE TESTS EARLIER THIS WEEK.

THE FOREIGN MINISTER TELLS V-O-A THE RECENT U-S DELEGATION LED BY
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE STROBE TALBOTT WAS MISTAKEN TO THINK 
PAKISTAN HAD NOT TAKEN A FINAL DECISION ON CONDUCTING A NUCLEAR 
TEST.

                         // GOHAR ACT //

         WE DID NOT SAY THAT TO THEM.  WE SAID WE RESERVE THE 
         OPTION AND DECISION IN THE BEST INTEREST OF PAKISTAN'S 
         SECURITY AND THE STRATEGIC AND MILITARY IMBALANCE THAT 
         HAS BEEN CREATED.

                          // END ACT //

AFTER THE DELEGATION MET WITH PAKISTANI LEADERS, U-S OFFICIALS 
SAID THEY WERE ASSURED PAKISTAN HAD NOT MADE UP ITS MIND TO TEST.

SPEAKING ON A MOBILE PHONE FROM THE MOUNTAINOUS REGION OF HIS 
HOMETOWN IN NORTHERN PAKISTAN, MR. AYUB SAYS IT IS NOT A QUESTION
OF IF PAKISTAN WOULD CONDUCT A TEST, BUT WHEN.  HE SAYS THE 
DECISION TO TEST HAS BEEN TAKEN BY THE CABINET.

ASKED HOW FAR PREPARATIONS HAD BEEN MADE FOR A TEST, HE SAID 
CONDUCTING THE EXPLOSION WOULD BE AS SIMPLE AS TURNING A KEY IN A
LOCK.  REPORTS FROM A REMOTE DESERT REGION OF PAKISTAN'S 
BALOCHISTAN PROVINCE SUGGEST PAKISTAN IS MAKING THE SITE READY 
FOR CONDUCTING A NUCLEAR TEST.

PAKISTAN PRIME MINISTER NAWAZ SHARIF SAID SUNDAY THE COUNTRY  
COULD CONDUCT THE TEST IN LESS THAN 24-HOURS NOTICE.  BUT MR.  
SHARIF'S STATEMENTS HAVE BEEN MORE CIRCUMSPECT THAN THOSE OF HIS 
FOREIGN MINISTER.

MR. SHARIF HAS SAID ONLY THAT PAKISTAN IS KEEPING ITS OPTIONS 
OPEN AND WILL SEE HOW THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY RESPONDS TO 
INDIA'S TESTS, BUT PAKISTAN WOULD NOT ACT IN HASTE. 

HE SAID PAKISTAN WOULD NOT RESPOND IN A TIT-FOR-TAT MANNER TO THE
INDIAN NUCLEAR TESTS, BUT HE SAID PAKISTAN WILL BE FORCED TO TEST
ITS DETERRENCE CAPABILITY IF NO FURTHER ACTION IS TAKEN AGAINST 
INDIA.

PAKISTAN SAYS THE INDIAN TESTS HAVE FORCED IT INTO AN ARMS RACE, 
AND INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AGAINST NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION AND 
TESTING ARE NOW MEANINGLESS.

PAKISTAN HAS BITTERLY CRITICIZED WESTERN COUNTRIES FOR NOT 
HEEDING ITS WARNINGS ABOUT INDIAN AMBITIONS, AND EXPRESSED DISMAY
AT THE UNWILLINGNESS OF THE G-EIGHT COUNTRIES TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS
ON NEW DELHI FOR TESTING NUCLEAR WEAPONS.

MEANWHILE, A JAPANESE ENVOY HAS ARRIVED IN ISLAMABAD FOR 
DISCUSSIONS WITH THE PAKISTANI LEADERSHIP.  JAPAN IS URGING 
PAKISTAN NOT TO FOLLOW INDIA'S LEAD.

IF PAKISTAN TESTS ITS NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABILITY IT WILL LIKELY 
BE HIT WITH THE SAME ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AS THOSE IMPOSED ON INDIA
BY THE UNITED STATES AND JAPAN.

PAKISTAN HAS SAID THOSE SANCTIONS ARE PRACTICALLY IRRELEVANT.  
BUT EXPERTS SAY PAKISTAN'S ECONOMY WOULD BE MUCH LESS ABLE TO 
SUSTAIN SUCH SANCTIONS THAN INDIA, WHICH HAS A VERY LARGE 
DOMESTIC ECONOMY.

MR. AYUB SAYS PAKISTAN HAS TAKEN THOSE COSTS INTO CONSIDERATION. 
WHEN ASKED WHAT IT WOULD COST PAKISTAN NOT TO TEST, THE FOREIGN  
MINISTER SAYS PAKISTAN WOULD RISK BEING MARGINALIZED IN THE 
REGION.

                         // GOHAR ACT //

         IT WOULD COST THAT WE WOULD BE ANOTHER BHUTAN.  WE WOULD
         BE LIKE THE PERIPHERAL COUNTRIES OF INDIA.

                          // END ACT //

PAKISTAN'S FOREIGN SECRETARY IS TO VISIT BEIJING TO DISCUSS THE 
LATEST DEVELOPMENTS IN THE REGION.  PAKISTAN AND CHINA ARE CLOSE 
ALLIES, AND BOTH HAVE OUTSTANDING DISPUTES WITH INDIA.

PAKISTAN AND INDIA HAVE FOUGHT THREE WARS SINCE GAINING 
INDEPENDENCE FROM BRITAIN 50-YEARS AGO.  TENSIONS REMAIN HIGH 
OVER THE HIMALAYAN STATE OF KASHMIR, WHICH BOTH COUNTRIES CLAIM. 
(SIGNED)

NEB/AZ/RAE

17-May-98 10:32 AM EDT (1432 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.